Meet me under the tallest Christmas tree

I woke up in a hotel in River North the morning after Brian’s work holiday party. I had brought a couple outfits but after the wild night, I was leaning toward a pair of tie-dye yoga pants and a hoodie. Brian steered me away from super comfort and suggested I try something else.

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

He had apparently made reservations at a restaurant called Brunch, where we would soon eat ourselves stupid. “You can’t leave brunch to chance,” said the man who rarely makes reservations for anything.

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

Breakfast nachos at Brunch: a plate of waffle fries, cheese, bacon, and eggs.

And so we went to brunch at Brunch, where they served breakfast appetizers (nachos made from waffle fries and topped with eggs—are you drooling yet?), coffee in thrifted mugs, and the most perfectly poached egg on the planet.

Sleeping Beauty coffee mug

And I thought this mug I had yoinked from the table nedxt to ours was going to be the highlight of my day…

I was slightly suspicious, of course, partially because I had booked the hotel with the hopes that Brian would take the hint and partially because of a group text exchange of some friends who must have forgotten I was in the chat.

I defer to the other two guys: Brian because he has some pretty big plans today...

Oh does, he, Eric?…Big plans, huh? What kind of big plans?

But I had no idea the wild ride I was in for. At Brunch, Brian was distracted. Staring at his phone (which is unusual for him). Furiously texting. I asked who he was talking to and he kinda brushed it off.

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

As we finished our meal, making tentative plans to go to one of the museums, Brian jumped up quickly, stating he had to go to the bathroom as if it were there first time he’d ever done it.

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

I spent my time wisely, screwing around on social media, bragging about the best poached eggs ever on Instagram and showing off last night’s makeup like a rockstar on Snapchat.

Just a selfie of me bragging that I was still wearing last night's makeup.

And then I waited.

And waited. And it got a little weird.

And then it got a lot weird when I looked up to see two of our friends, Eric and Brooke (one of my Something Blue girls). And Brooke had her video camera.

All I could think was, Okay, so it’s happening here. An interesting choice, Brian.

I never expected a big scene or anything. I figured it would be quiet, somewhere nice/special, but mostly quiet. And never on video.

Eric slid in next to me, and Brooke sat down where Brian had been sitting.

“So where’s Brian?”

“Ummmm…the bathroom?”

“I don’t think he’s coming back,” her words were drawn, full of excitement.

“Where’s his jacket?”

“You’re sitting on it.”

Brooke reached into his coat pocket and pulled out an envelope.

Inside the envelope was a note, an Android-compatible usb reader, and a cryptex.

For those of you unsure of what a cryptex is, go back to the The DaVinci Code. That puzzley thing Langdon had to solve? That’s a cryptex.

The note from Brian was a clue to open the cryptex. Eric had the answer (and additional clues), so he could provide hints. Brooke knew nothing, so she could help me solve it.

As we spent an embarrassingly long time trying to solve this puzzle, I figured out how to get the answer, and was about to work it into the cryptex, when I realized, the cryptex numerical combination was still taped to the bottom of the device.

Nailed it!

Inside the cryptex, was a usb memory thingy (which plugged into the cable which plugged into my phone). It was a video from Brian, in which he told me that he planned an adventure and gave me a clue to another location.

This led us to The Looking Glass Theater near Water Tower Place. Upon our arrival, several really excited attendants handed me another cryptex and another clue. I solved this one in approximately 37 seconds, and inside this bigger cryptex was another clue to another location.

Again, it took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out the location, which I knew was at Navy Pier, but had no idea where to go once we got there. As we were walking through the entrance, I mentioned The Crystal Gardens, having gone to an event there years ago. And Eric was like, BOOM.

We made our way up the escalator, and as I looked through the windows,

Oh fuck, my parents are here!

My parents were sitting at a table inside the garden with another cryptex. They also knew the answers and had additional clues for me. Eventually, Brooke solved it, because holy crap it was hard.

Inside the cryptex was a final location clue (and a flower hair clip, because as you can see, there’s room for a flower inside) in which Brian told me to meet him under tallest tree.

I knew immediately we were going to Winter Wonderfest at the end of the pier. My mom had wristbands for all of us to get in, so she led the charge. And we made our way through the restaurants and shops, twisting and turning to avoid crowds.

As we drew closer to the fest, Eric received some intel, and was told to find the man in the blue suit before coming in.

When we arrived an elf in a blue suit greeted us.

“Welcome! Welcome! You must be Chrissy! We’ve been waiting for you! I am the mayor of Winter Wonderfest! Welcome!”

A few other elves, including what appeared to be a reporter elf, appeared, but I looked past them to see Brian, wearing a suit under the giant Christmas tree in the center of the hall.

The mayor took my arm and walked me toward Brian while the other elves cried, “Make way! Make way! Chrissy’s coming through!”

As I walked up to Brian, he pulled out a velvet box with my grandmother’s ring inside it and got down on one knee.

Behind me, I heard someone yell out, “Oh shit! He goin’ to propose!”

Proposal under the Christmas tree at Winter Wonderfest

He asked me to be his bride, and of course, I said yes. We hugged and kissed and then hugged my parents, his brother, amd our freakin’ awesome friends who had joined me on the scavenger hunt.

And then we needed some good pictures, of course. Brian got down on one knee, again, and asked me to marry him, again. And I said yes, again. It was perfect.

After wandering around the indoor fest for a while, the six of us went for champagne and snacks at Riva, a Navy Pier restaurant Brian and I had been to a few years earlier on my birthday.

We even kept the empty champagne bottle until fittingly, our wedding day, when it managed to get tossed out with other bottles in the mass insanity that was my house the morning of the wedding.

And now, a year later, I can look back on that memory my wonderful husband created for us before he was my husband. And Christmas will forever be better than it was before.

What was your proposal like?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Good Morning, Sunshine

When I was a little girl, one of my mom’s best friends got married. Her wedding was the first big wedding I had ever been to, and the only one I recall from my childhood. I remember hunting down the servers with passed hors d’oeuvres, searching for shrimp cocktail. I remember playing with the other kids in the super fancy bathroom. I remember the ceremony and riding in the car with several of the bridesmaids from the church to the reception. But what I remember most of all was the morning of the wedding.

A dozen or more women and girls, racing around the bride’s house. Pantyhose flying, curling irons sizzling, jewelry clasping, and (because it was the very early 90’s) a cloud of hairspray wafted through the house. My hair was French braided, a style I adored but could never accomplish on my own or even with the help of my mom.
The house was buzzing with life, love, and joy. Pure, unadulterated joy. Hectic, crazy, and loud, but happy. Full of excitement.
So when it came time for my wedding…I knew I couldn’t settle for less than that. So in addition to my bridal party, my mom and other women in my life, including the bride whose wedding morning inspired my own, joined me the morning of the wedding for the start of a beautiful, happy, and magical day.
Pointing at my awesome bride hoodie in front of my tri-fold mirror where my wedding dress hung was one of my favorite photos.

At the last minute, I bought this hoodie and a bride tank top from Amazon, and they both arrived the day before the wedding!

I woke up the morning of the wedding, put on my tie-dye yoga pants and other bridewear, and quietly snuck out to get myself some breakfast. I picked up bagels and cream cheese along with a fruit platter for the onslaught of ladies.
After a delightful exchange with the dude at Einstein Bagels (He was all, “It’s your wedding day? Why are you buying the bagels?” and I was all, “Because everyone is sleeping, and I was hungry.”), I made my way back to my bed, where Brian was sleeping and I started playing with my Snapchat filters.
 I created a wedding day snapchat geofilter for my house the morning of the wedding.
 If you remember from our Cheesy wedding prep, Ally spent the night at our house.  If you’re debating whether to have people sleep at your house on the night before your wedding, do it. It was fun to have her there the night before, and even more fun in the morning. It was no surprise that when she woke up, she started playing with Snapchat filters too.
My bridesmaid created a wedding morning blanket fort in the guest room and sent me a Snap to invite me to jump in on her cozy.
Obviously, I left my sleeping husband and went to snuggle with my awake bestie. Shortly thereafter, Katie arrived. And my future sister-in-law. And my friend Laura with the flowers. And my hairdresser. And Rachel with two of the three kids. And the rest of the ladies. And the photographer. It got loud and crazy real fast.
Katie and Ally jumped into helping Laura with flower stuff in my garage. I sat down with Katelyn for some hair magic. If you can, GET YOUR HAIRDRESSER TO COME TO YOUR HOUSE. This was one of the best decisions I made through the whole planning process. We didn’t start until like 10am. I didn’t have to leave my house or drive 20 minutes or worry about anything.The rest of the ladies snacked and started doing their hair and makeup as well.
I’ll let the photos do some of the talking:
I wanted a boho chic, but sleek wedding hairdo with a side braid and curls and low-side pouf. My hairdresser nailed it.

I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect visualization of the wedding hair I wanted.

my aunt putting on my bridal make-up the day of my wedding.

I told my aunt, who used to have her own line of make-up, that I wanted to look like the butterfly snapchat filter. I may be biased, but I think she nailed it.

 

I love this wood tri-fold standing mirror in my bedroom. It was the perfect spot to hang my wedding gown.

When I bought this wood tri-fold standing mirror at an estate sale last summer, I knew I wanted it for wedding photos (yes, before Brian and I were engaged).

 

We received a personalized wedding gift of Connect Four with our wedding colors and hashtag

For our wedding, we received a personalized Connect Four from a couple of our friends.

Black and white bridal photo in front of a tri-fold mirror in bride's bedroom

bride and flower gir bridal photo in front of a tri-fold mirror in bride's bedroom

We have this window from our bedroom to our front room that made for a perfect Bridal sneak peek before the big reveal

We have this window from our bedroom to our front room that made for a perfect bridal sneak peek before the big reveal

 

Some of the amazing women in my life looking up at me in my bedroom window on my wedding day

Don’t mind the mess y’all…I made the photographer come take a photo from my POV because this was awesome.

The bride is coming down the stairs and her family and friends are watching.

And then I came down stairs…the photographer called this, “the big reveal” even though everyone had been in and out of my bedroom 😉

Bride coming down stairs

Taking a wedding photo in my grandfather's chair

Anyone who has ever been to my house knows that this was my grandpa’s chair, and I used to play in it as a little girl. I freaking love this chair.

We ordered Jimmy John’s for lunch (which I managed to finally slam 5 minutes before the ceremony when I realized I was starving. Yes, a Jimmy John’s Vito, full of delicious garlicky goodness right before my wedding. I also split it with the ring bearer who kept asking me for a bite), so everyone had something to eat, and they delivered Freaky Fast as JJ tends to do. And then we all rolled out in a party bus I hired at the last minute (are you catching a theme here, guys?) when I realized I didn’t know how to get 13 people from my house to the venue.

Are you tired of wedding nonsense, yet?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue

Man. Our wedding…where to go from cheese? I guess I’ll start by explaining the bridal party. Because that shit got out of control real fast. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

So it all started with the whole picking bridesmaids thing. Which was hard because holy shit I have a lot of amazing friends. And I didn’t want to offend anyone. I also didn’t want to impose on…well…everyone.

And then there was Brian…who only wanted two groomsmen: his brothers. We compromised by making my godson the most handsome junior groomsman to ever exist.

the groom, groomsmen, and junior groomsman at the alter

This photo makes my heart happy.

So I chose two bridesmaids and a matron of honor. Katie was destined to be my MOH from the first day I met her. She even planned a rough draft of her speech 4 years ago when I begged her to guest post on this little ole blog. I always knew my cousin Rachel would be one of my bridesmaids, and my post-college bestie, Ally, was a perfect complement to the other two.

we took wedding photos at a playground, and had so much fun on the purple dinosaur.

Ally’s outgoing personality balanced Rachel’s and Katie’s introvertness. We all had a blast.

I invited the three of them over with Brian’s brothers for some quality wedding planning time, and invited them to be my bridesmaids with a super fun little puzzle gift (when I tell you about our engagement, this will make more sense. Hold tight, y’all. That’s coming soon to a QC near you).

My bridesmaid proposal included pink gerber daisies in pink vases, Sweethearts candies, heart-shaped rings, a message in a bottle, and a scrabble tile unscramble

The message in a bottle had song lyrics with a different song memory for each maid. Once they named the song, I handed them the scrabble tiles, and they had to unscramble the word. I made them work for it, y’all.

But what about the other super important people in my life? Tom and Matty were always going to be bridesmen in my wedding, and I knew I had to make it happen. I told them and my brother that they were ushers, but let’s be honest here, guys…they were absolutely my bridesmen. You may be asking why there are only two men in this pictures…the answer is complicated, but it ends with a really handsome baby boy who I will convince to call me Crazy Auntie Chrissy, just as I do with all the tiny humans I love.

My bridesmen kissing me on the cheek at the wedding

I love these guys.

And then my girls. I’ve stood up in three weddings. I have some amazing family. And oh-mah-gah what would I do without some of these other women in my life? So I created a whole new category of the bridal party.

Standing with my something blue crew, all wearing teal dresses

We never actually got one picture with everyone included, but it’s totally okay. There are two women not pictured-one who was unable to make it at the last minute (another baby was born just a few weeks earlier and something came up for them) and another hadn’t arrived when these photos were taken (she ALSO had just had a baby. SO MANY BABIES!), but she was in some of the later pics!

I called them my Something Blue Crew, and they were magical. Because my colors were pink and teal, I asked my bridesmaids to do the whole official same dress thing in the pinkest pink I could find, and then I asked the Blue Crew to wear something teal.

I printed poems and messages on cardstock to ask my Something Blue Crew to be a part of my wedding

I wrote a silly little rhyme-y poem and either mailed or hand-delivered these, depending on whether the girls lived out of town.

I wanted to make sure that my Something Blue Crew knew that they were a special part of my world, so I went to eBates, and ultimately Mixbooks, to create my invitations. I wrote the poem and the blurb at the bottom, and was super excited about it.

As I spoke with each girl, I was thrilled that they were just as pumped about it as I was. Essentially, they were bridesmaids without the responsibilities. They didn’t walk down the aisle, but they were introduced at dinner. They were invited to the rehearsal, but not required. They didn’t have to go buy crazy fancy dresses and shoes or get their hair and nails done, but some of them did. And they all looked perfect.

The kids were also spot on. My sassy little niece nailed it as the flower girl with the rando basket I had from an old Halloween costume that I wrapped ribbon around. And my AMAZING floral friend plucked rose petals for her to throw.

The flower girl threw pink rose petals

She was so afraid of running out of flowers that she only dropped a few at a time.

Our ring bearer nailed it. He made it all the way up the LONG aisle without hesitation. And with full-on cuteness. I even found him the most perfect toddler tuxedo on Amazon.

Our ring bearer had a sign that said "Has anybody seen the rings?" and dragged the ring pillow behind him.

At two years old, we didn’t think our ring bearer should carry the ring, but we did give him a fun sign and tied the pillow to his wrist so he could drag it the whole way down the aisle.

He and his sister had a blast.

The ring bearer and flower girl walking back up the aisle

The ring bearer’s sign was double-sided, so on the way back, we switched it.

And they were all there with me on Brian’s and my day.

the full bridal party with bride, groom, groomsman, bridesmaids, ushers/bridesmen, something blue crew, flower girl, and ring bearer.

And the colors turned out to be my best, happiest, most wonderful dream come to life.

Magic.

Wedding photography courtesy of Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Our Cheesy Wedding

So, I’m thinking on Wednesdays, I’m going to try posting little snippets and tidbits from our wedding, mostly because THERE’S SO MUCH TO SHARE, and I really don’t want to overwhelm y’all.

I figured the best place to start is with our wedding theme…which came together at the very last minute.

It all started with a cheese cake. A cake made of cheese wheels. Both Brian and I aren’t big fans of cake, and the thought of tasting tons of cake and paying for tons of cake when that’s not what we wanted was less that desirable. I originally thought cheesecakes, but Brian doesn’t like those, either.

Cue big giant wheels of my favorite thing on the planet (Brian not withstanding), and we had ourselves a cake that dreams are made of.

If you love cheese as much as I do, I highly recommend the cheese-themed wedding.

Originally, I had planned to vet the wheels, find the cheapest prices, order them, and set them up, all by myself. Basically, pre-wedding me was insane. (You’re going to see as this series unfolds that people like me aren’t DIY experts, so if you’re looking for those kind of wedding planning tips, you’re in the wrong place, my friends. If, on the contrary, you’re looking for realistic, I-paid-someone-to-do-it and I-have-the-best-friends-on-the-planet advice, I’m your gal.)

About two months before the wedding, I realized I was crazy and definitely didn’t want to add more to my to-do list, so I called Whole Foods Orland Park. I knew they had a kickin’ cheese selection and there was one near the wedding venue. I worked with two unbelievably wonderful people in the cheese department, and they were just as excited about our cheese cake as I was.

No cheese themed wedding is complete without wheels of cheese...

Photo by Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography. The piece de resistance of our wedding was definitely the cheese wheel cake. Some people thought it was a cake made to look like cheese, but no. It was a cake made of cheese. Obvi. Laura decorated the cheese table and added the extra flourishes, accoutrements, and MORE CHEESE.

I’m so glad I called them because it turned out to be one of the best wedding experiences I had with vendors. After some back and forth with the cheese selections, in which they sent pictures and prices, and I asked for changes a few times, we finally had a pretty good idea of what we were going to choose, and I thanked them for their patience.

They invited me down to Orland Park for a cheese tasting, and I was already in love. Brian had zero interest in most things wedding, so I brought my pal Laura, who is a godsend and amazing. She managed a significant number of day-of wedding details for me, did my flowers, candy buffet, and handled the cheese cake.

Our wedding cake was three tiered cheese wheels. This was the demo from Whole Foods.

Whole Foods set up a clothed table with a sign that said, “reserved for the future Mr. and Mrs. Woj” and flowers and little place settings. They set up a cake with the wheels we had chosen so we could see and touch.

At Whole Foods, we tasted all three cheeses: Marieke Gouda, a young Manchego, and a Petite Basque, and they even paired the cheese with three glasses of wine. After I placed my order (in which I got 10% OFF for buying whole wheels), they handed me a lovely goodie bag with Whole Foods treats and beauty samples as a thank you to their bride. OMG I died. It was about a month before the wedding and I had yet to feel super duper special with any of the wedding vendors I was working with. None of the bridal events I attended were even close to this magical.

You can ask your cheese vendor to make shaped displays with goat cheese.

Laura made Whole Foods turn cranberry goat cheese into beautiful heart-shaped displays. There was one on the head table just for us, too. It was fucking perfect. Photo by Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

As the wedding day drew near, I stumbled across mini cheese grater favors. We had planned to donate to a charity in lieu of favors, but once I saw those, I knew what I needed to do.

If you're going to have a cheese themed wedding, you need to have cheese grater favors.

Mama Bear tied ribbons around each grater the week before the wedding, and Ally, my night before slumber party bridesmaid, handled the sticking of the names on the grater boxes at midnight the night before the wedding. Photo by Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

A week before the wedding, I also decided to make Snapchat geofilters, which is SO EASY.

We created Snapchat Filters for our cheesy wedding

Two of my Something Blues (More on that next week) using the Snapchat filters I made.

I had also thrown around the idea of naming tables instead of numbering them…but I was lazy and just kept putting it off. Until the day before the wedding. Brian was printing table names and labels for the favors with guest names and their tables. I was just trying not to freak out because it was 1 o’clock in the morning.

We named our tables after cheeses

The hardest part was coming up with the 28ish different cheese names for the tables…Laura managed all the centerpiece decorations and shit. Photo by Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

But it all came together so nicely. And cutting the cake WAS THE MOST FUN THING EVER.

As I was cutting the cheese cake with my new husband., we kept laughing

Take note: It’s surprisingly hard to cut into a giant wheel of cheese. I recommend a practice cut. We were supposed to cut into the bottom layer, but that was not happening, so the top layer got the knife instead. Photo by Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

Taking a bite out of a big hunk of cheese makes for an awesome cake cutting ceremony at a wedding.

I could not. Stop. Laughing. Photo by Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

Our cake cutting was hilarious. Because the cake was made of cheese.

You guys. We cut the cheese at our wedding. We CUT. THE. CHEESE. Photo by Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

And THAT’S how you have a cheesy wedding.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

If Shingles Didn’t Kill Me, Wedding Planning Might…

One month from today, I’ll be waking up next to Brian (um, yes. He’s not allowed to abandon me the night before our wedding, despite the fact that the world thinks he shouldn’t see me before our wedding. And despite the fact that he’s probably going to wake up to a house full of crazy if my family has anything to say about it…) and starting the most magical day of my life to date. You know how my Clark Griswold expectations have already built this up in my mind. Don’t try to fix it.  

But the last nine months have not been without fault. I’ve made LOTS of mistakes in this whole wedding planning process. Even while utilizing the best wedding advice ever, I still managed to stress out internally to the point where it came out in the form of motherfucking shingles. And remember how that advice said not to stress about the details? I just put them off until…well…now…or two weeks from now. Whatever.

Quirky Chrissy Wedding shower

So I’ve made some errors…while drinking a lot of champagne. And enjoying every minute of being engaged (except for the moments people encourage me to use the word, “fiance,” because I really think it’s a douchey word). I thought I’d tell you things you should probably not do (and I’m sure over the next 31 days, there will be a laundry list of more things I’ll do wrong. But you know what? At the end of the day, Brian is marrying Chrissy. And then we’re going to Europe (and don’t try to rob my house, robbers. My brother is moving in for the time we’re gone. And he’s big and scary and mean).

Don’t do what I did

  • I ordered enough invitations to hand one to every. single. man. woman. and child (yes, even the toddlers standing up in my wedding). NO ONE TELLS YOU THAT YOU ONLY NEED INVITATIONS ON A PER HOUSEHOLD BASIS! So I’m telling you. We ordered our invitations from Vistaprint using Ebates for a sweet bonus, but I ordered way too many of them. Luckily, I was able to change my order when I realized my mistake, but they could only give me a big fat credit on VistaPrint to make up for it. So, I’ve pretty much got business cards for life or I might order some cool rando swag. We’ll see.
  • I forgot to stamp envelopes. On both thank you notes from my showers and actual wedding invitations, several came back to us because I didn’t triple check for stamps on everything. Sometimes, the post office is nice to me. Sometimes, it’s not.
  • Speaking of invitations, I also sent several invitations to the wrong or old addresses. Also resulting in envelopes being returned to us.
  • I’m also pretty sure we forgot to send invitations to some people full stop. This was a very hectic time in our lives, and I don’t know how people do this and dear god why didn’t I hire someone to manage the details?!
  • I waited until the last minute to book our hotel rooms. I know that had I booked two months ago, when I booked our flights, I probably could have saved a shit ton more money. But I did work pretty hard to get the best prices I could for the nicest hotels in our price range on TripAdvisor. I’m very happy with our choices. For now. I’ll let you know in October how that worked out for us.
  • I still haven’t picked out music. Like…none of it. Ceremony music. First dance song. The only thing I know for certain is that my dad and I will dance to “Daddy’s Little Girl” because the man has had that planned since before my actual birth. And now it’s like fuuuuuck. I can’t believe I put this off and now I have to make decisions. I hate making decisions. WHY DIDN’T I HIRE SOMEONE TO MAKE DECISIONS?

6 wedding planning mistakes to avoid because no one tells you this stuff.

Well, I know there are more mistakes to be made, so I’m just going to get to making them, and I can’t wait to tell you all about everything! And if you’re getting married…hire someone to manage the details.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Perfect Date Ideas if Killing a Man Sounds Like a Hot Date

A few weeks ago, we had our first shower. It was lovely, and Brian’s family is wonderful, and I love them. 

Wedding shower games: Date Jar

One of the activities at said shower was a Date Jar. It was super adorable and everyone seemed to really enjoy participating. So, of course, I thought it would be fun to read them all aloud. 

And I was right.

Lots of perfect date ideas ensued, including recreating our first date, heading to an escape room, eating cheese, doing yoga, and playing Scrabble, and hunting Pokemon (which I had then yet to download). 

Wedding shower games: Date Jar date suggestions  (cheese tour, coupled yoga)

Luckily for everyone, though, there were a couple real gems that had us all laughing…and me admitting to probably a little too much. 

Netflix and Chill

YOU GUYS. I HAD NO IDEA WHAT NETFLIX AND CHILL MEANT. I mean I knew by the time I read it on the date jar. But it was maybe…two months ago that I learned what it meant. I always thought it was just…snuggling up with the couch (sometimes by yourself,  other times with anyone who doesn’t want to be productive) and binge watching Netflix.

While at a friend’s house, I discovered a whole new meaning of the phrase during a group conversation. Apparently, it’s code for come over and ahem make out and bang. A light bulb went on above my head and I was like whaaaaaat?
And so, being the completely improper lady that I am, I took it upon myself to explain to Brian’s family what Netflix and chill meant, and that I had just recently learned about it. I mean, if that’s the most inappropriate thing I did, I think I did okay. 

Make a Blanket Fort and Watch Movies

This was just one of my favorites. No funny business here. Because blanket forts are AWESOME. 

Bring one of your favorite movie scenes to life

I’m thinking Brian’s going to veto sitting on the dining room table kissing over a birthday cake (mine would be cheesecake). And he’s probably going to say no when I call him farm boy and boss him around. 

Wedding shower games: Date Jar date suggestions  (blanket forts, Netflix and chill, reenact a movie scene)

And then there was this one:

Wedding shower games: Date Jar date suggestions  (kill a man?)

After the initial omg reaction, Brian and I started coming up with ways to kill a man without actually injuring an actual human. We could play Clue and kill Mr. Body in the library with the wrench. We could watch a movie on Netflix that has someone else killing a man. The creative possibilities are endless. 

What are some of your favorite date ideas? Did you know what Netflix and chill meant?

This post is part of my partnership with Netflix as a member of the stream team. I received a year’s subscription of Netflix and a device on which to binge watch shows like Gilmore Girls. As always, all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Should You Really Pinterest Your Own Wedding?

Pinterest for wedding planning is getting out of control. It’s all DIY this and DIY that. And FML this and FML that.

Come up with the perfect save the dates!

Design the most creative invitations!

Your wedding favors: handled!

These centerpieces will blow your mind!

If you’re insane, these wedding photo ideas will totally impress your photographer!

Exclamation points and lies, my friends. Pinterest is full of exclamation points and lies (Except when I’m pinning shit to Pinterest. That’s all stuff that I know is possible. Because I’ve done it. And I’m not crazy. Well…except maybe when it comes to Halloween).

Do you really want to Pinterest your wedding-

But for our wedding…instead of listening to Pinterest’s bullshit, I have a 12 step program that is sure to keep you level headed and stress-free through the whole wedding planning process.

Step 1: Get great idea (maybe from Pinterest, maybe from the depths of your cluttered brain. Whatever works for you, lady).

Step 2: Consider the work that goes into great idea.

Step 3: Ask yourself is this REALLY something you want to do with your time?

Step 4: Say yes.

Step 5: Ask yourself if you can buy it on the internet.

Step 6: If yes, check pricing and proceed to step 7. If no, proceed to step 8.

Step 7: If price is reasonable (math out the time it would take to create such nonsense, and then multiply that by your hourly rate), buy it on the internet. You no longer need to continue. If the price is bullshit, proceed to step 8.

Step 8: Okay, now it’s time to consult your MOH. If you haven’t already told her, you should probably make sure she knows to shut it the fuck down when you get Griswold Goggles. She should not volunteer to help. She should remind you (and she’s the only one who can do this – everyone else better tell you all your ideas are fucking brilliant and keep their mouths shut when they don’t like one of them to avoid you wanting to kick them in the shins or cry or both) that you didn’t want to stress, and your DIY projects are never fully completed, and even when they are, they’re usually horror scenes.

Step 9: Try to rationalize with her.

Step 10: Remember why you gave her permission to shoot your crazy ideas down. Consider alternatives that you can buy on the internet.

Step 11: If you still really want what you want, recruit 27 other people to help you make it happen. Preferably someone with a glue gun and knowledge of how to make shit happen, and you, my friend, are on your own. If you’ve finally wised up, move on to step 12.

Step 12: Congratulations. You’ve successfully talked yourself out of making 9,000 origami swans, hand-crafted invitations for a guest list of 600, and centerpieces that will take 4 months to complete. Now, go buy yourself a beer with the time and money you’ve saved. Your wedding is going to be fucking awesome no matter what. You’ll be surrounded by the people you love as you pledge to spend the rest of y our life with the person who makes you the happiest and your life the fullest.

No one’s going to remember that you used white tablecloths and you had a full beach scene inside a glass jar in the center of every table. Nope. They will remember your smile as you said “I do.” Or the song your besties jammed out to on the dance floor. Or the fucking fantastic thing you paid a billion dollars for on the internet because you didn’t want to make it but obviously you needed it. And if they don’t remember. Don’t worry. You paid a photographer to capture fucking everything anyway.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Wedding Comeuppance is Upon Me

You guys. I’m a little concerned. With my pending nuptials coming up faster than I can say September 16, I’m starting to realize that this is time for a little payback. From my friends and family.

14 things that people are going to do at my wedding

You see, it may surprise you, but I’m not always the most well-behaved wedding guest on the block. I’ve done my fair share of things that brides don’t just forget. And now I see that my comeuppance is surely upon me. Here are a few things that could happen that wouldn’t surprise me…but may irritate Brian to no end.

Someone or 30 someones aren’t going to RSVP. I’m going to have to hunt them down via text, email, or gasp an actual phone call. Bonus points if it’s a member of my bridal party.

Someone’s going to make hilarious commentary through the ceremony. I’m sorry it’s not in a church, MOM.

Chrissy and Three makin' jokes

Someone’s going to injure themselves. It just wouldn’t be right if someone doesn’t fall down, scrape their knee, ruin their tights, and possibly twist their ankle. Bonus points if it’s me.

Someone is going to bring their own booze. I mean, we’re having bombass open bar, AND allowing people to bring drinks to the ceremony, but you never know who’s going to decide they need a magnum size bottle of white zin by their side…bonus points if it’s a member of the bridal party…

Bottles of wine

Honestly, guys, learn from my mistakes. Bring a twist off bottle.

Someone’s going to bring an embarrassing date. Who complains about the bar and says something on the wedding video like, “I’m  sorry.” when asked to give a message to the bride and groom.

Someone’s going to convince my dad to buy him or her a bottle of wine. Bonus points if it’s a member of the bridal party.

Quirky Chrissy's dad

It’s really hard for this guy to say no to a pretty face.

Someone’s going to eat all the passed hors d’oeuvres. But if they know what’s good for them, they’ll save me a bacon wrapped date.

Someone’s going to get stupid drunk. Okay…probably a lot of someones. Bonus points if it’s before dinner.

Someone’s going to talk loudly through the speeches. A word to the wise, my matron of honor doesn’t fuck around, and her speech will probably be brilliant. And she might hit you over the head with a Corona bottle if you talk when she’s talking.

Someone’s going to stack a bunch of glassware on their table as a point of pride. I’m actually looking forward to the leaning tower of glassware part deux, you guys.

Someone’s going to steal glassware. Or centerpieces. Or the wine key from the bartender. I can’t be the only one who went through a klepto phase…

Someone’s going to spill wine on me. Or ice cream. Or a plate full of food. Bonus points if it’s one of the servers.

Someone’s going to take their bra off. In the reception room. In front of Brian’s dad. Bonus points if it’s a member of the bridal party.

Someone’s going to be a bouquetzilla. I mean, someone needs to take my place. I’m leaving an empty hole in the universe, here.

catching the bouquet

Yes. That’s me.

Triple secret bonus points if one person manages to accomplish all or most of these things for this one wedding. Pookie, I’m looking at you.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Frolicking in the Park

Sometimes, it amazes me, the beauty that surrounds us. A few weeks ago, Brian and I took a stroll down the Fox River in Geneva, Illinois with a lovely photographer and her assistant. We had a little picnic, played some games, and frolicked (yes, frolicked) around the playground surrounded by tiny humans. Our photographer captured some of the suburban Chicago beauty of spring, and I’d like to share that with you.

We weren’t planning on having an engagement session, but when I stumbled across a contest (and YOU helped me win 3rd place), we received a complimentary photo shoot with the lovely and talented Joy.

All photos are from Being Joy Photography. If you can’t get enough, you can check out her Chrissy and Brian blog post (and more of our engagement photos).

We began the session with a walk along the river, where we sat on a park bench and told bad jokes while Joy took lovely shots of us in the background.

Engagement photo shoot at a park with cherry blossom trees

Then we got up close and personal with this cherry blossom tree. Because look at it!

beautiful plus size engagement photos

When Joy asked how I felt about laying on the ground, I informed her I’d do whatever she wanted; she was the professional. I was secretly hoping she’d take advantage of this and make me do some crazy incredible feat so that I’d fall down and have some truly epic photos…but she was kind.

beautiful plus size engagement photos in a park

We brought props. All the props. Edible props. Playable props. Toys. Games. You name it. We brought it. Obviously, cheese was the star of the show. But this game, Mice and Mystics, is our game. While it can play up to four players, it’s the game Brian and I play on our at-home date nights. The game plays through an entire campaign, so we’ve been working our way through it slowly. Savoring it, if you will. My favorite part? The currency in the game is CHEESE.

Engagement photo session with cheese and board games

In fact, we had a whole picnic with some of our cough my cough favorite things. Board games. Cheese. Champagne. It was glorious. And fun. I totally ate a ton of cheese that day too.

engagement photo shoot picnic with cheese, champagne, and games in a park

Of course, I won The Game of Life (for the first time ever), and Brian was less than pleased. So he flipped that shit upside down. I tried to explain to him, “BRIAN, I never win this game. Can’t I win just this once?”

engagement photo shoot with the game of life throwing the game in the air

He wasn’t having any of that nonsense. So we walked away. We had a wardrobe change and took some silhouette photos under this super cool archway. My grandpa, the brick layer, would have been proud.

black and white silhouette engagement photo under archway

There’s this really cool looking foot bridge over the Fox River that I really loved photos on, and Joy was happy to oblige. This is one of my favorite photos from the whole shoot.

engagement photo session on a bridge, sitting indian style kissing

Across from the bridge, which is underneath the train bridge, Joy decided she wanted a shot of us in the support dealie (any one have any idea what this is called?). It turned out pretty cool!engagement photo session under a train bridge around the corner from each other

And then we made our way to the playground, where there were dozens of tiny humans running around on the unseasonably warm April day. We had to get creative. Joy seemed to really appreciate our facial expressions. Brian called this my zombie face. He’s not wrong.engagement photo session at a playground on the slide

Maybe one day, I’ll show you all the picture of Brian falling off the swings…but for now, you can see us being all lovey and adorable.

engagement photo session at a playground on the swings

We concluded our photo shoot with a picture of us taking a selfie. Because I’m kind of a selfie queen. It’s a thing.

engagement photo session on a park bench taking a selfie

Did you have an engagement photo session when you got married? If you’re not married yet, do you want an engagement sesh? Can you believe we’re getting married in three and a half months?

No one paid me to write nice things about Joy, but I did win a contest in which the prize was the photo shoot. We paid for all prints and products.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Reasons I’m Going to Marry Brian

Brian and I are getting married on September 16. For those of you not interested in mathing that out, it’s approximately 4.5 months  (or exactly 142 days) from today.

We had our engagement photos last weekend, and they were ridiculous,  just like us. For those of you not following on social media, here’s a sneak peek:

adorable engagement photos at a playground

Photo credit: Being Joy Photography

That guy right there? Is my favorite. And soon, he will upgrade from handsome boyfriend to handsome husband. Here’s why:

  • He makes me laugh. So much. If you can believe it, he’s actually way funnier than me. And he can keep me laughing all day long.
  • He keeps me grounded. I was out with some girlfriends last night and we were talking about how WHEEEEEE!!! Out of control we can sometimes be, and Brian can bring me right back down to earth when I need to be there. But he also holds on tight as I flutter free(ish) in the breeze. Never let go, Jack Brian. Never let go.
  • He’s so fucking smart. I learn something new every day. He also understands things about the world and can try to rationalize them for me when social injustices make me cry.
  • He’s so generous. He lets me warm my cold hands and feet with his human space heater body…at night. When he’s trying to go to sleep. And then he laughs with me (see the first bullet).
adorable engagement photos at a park with board games

Photo credit: Being Joy Photography

God, he’s the best.

 

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Are you married? Got any marriage advice? Why do you love your partner or best friend? Is your person as awesome as Brian?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!